In parts of Kyoto in which there remain a large number of older private homes, you will often find odd address markings/advertisements.
The rectangular metal signs have literally been tacked onto the front of many homes. The top tells the passerby the street address - helpful in often signless Japan - and the bottom has the logo of the Jintan Corporation and its kanji rendering （仁丹）.
My daughter is a big fan of the signs - and the logo with its mustachioed 18th century (?) military man - and we count them on the bike ride into central Kyoto.
Jintan was founded in 1893 and still exists. Its headquarters are in nearby Osaka. The company makes, among other items, breath mints.
The signs pictured here were found in an area rich with Jintan signs: the old neighborhoods bordered by Horikawa on the east, Marutamachi on the south, Senbon on the west, and Imadegawa on the north.
The sign above right is on a stunning building that is still an operating factory. The characters themselves are a giveaway of when the sign was made and affixed to the building: they use old, more complicated kanji.
The sign below left is across the street and on a private residence. The only difference is the address - and the degree of wear and tear. In the background is the factory where the other sign can be found.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010